The NGC Universal ID is a four digit alphanumeric that groups coins based on a unique combination of date, mintmark, denomination and striking process (MS, PF, or SP). These IDs are a simple organization of all coins prior to variety attribution and grading.
In 1903 the San Francisco Mint produced 1.85 million half eagles, but in 1904 the number dropped precipitously, to only 97,000 pieces. In fact, the 1904-S half eagle is the lowest mintage S-mint since the 1894-S, which is also considered quite scarce. All of the other S-mint half eagle mintages during the 1895-1904 era range from more than 100,000 coins on the low side to a couple of million on the high side, in the case of the 1898-S, 1899-S, 1901-S, and 1903-S issues. An undoubted reason for the paucity of half eagles coined this year was San Francisco's prodigious output of double eagles, amounting to more than 5 million pieces. Concerning the 1904-S half eagle Jeff Garrett and Ron Guth write, 'Most of the coins seen for the date are Extremely Fine or About Uncirculated. Mint State examples are quite rare, choice and gem specimens are seldom seen.
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